Talk to me how you would talk Mrs. Teri, dammit…
Those are the words that fell out of my very frustrated mouth and through the house to only fall loosely on the ears of my 8 (going on 16) year old daughter. It was the third time in less than a half-hour that I had asked her to just put the fitted sheet on the bed so that she could take her ass to sleep. A task that now takes us anywhere upwards of an hour and a half, bordering two hours. My patience was low. I could have been asleep now for hours and perhaps still needed more rest but not my little miss. The only motor with more juice, at this point, is her mouth.
*googles “my 8-year-old talks a lot, talkative child syndrome*
Mrs. Teri is her teacher, and there is no way in hell my daughter would give any of the words or energy that she gives me to Teri. Not in the last 100 or so days of school; she hasn’t even once.
Let ole Teri Ter tell it, and Kenz is the sweetest, most polite girl that ever walked the earth. The queen would delight in her manners, and audiences everywhere would awe at her demeanor.
That is not the Kenz I get.
It’s like the moment she steps foot in the car from school, she becomes a sassy clever, witty Disney channel star qued up for and ready for a laugh track. She’s got a quip about everything. No opinion of hers goes unheard.
She. Is. On.
But that’s just it… As much as I hate and I do mean fucking hate the way she mouths off, talks back, and makes me truly question the heart of my parenting.
She has to be able to do that somewhere and that somewhere is with me.
At least that’s what I’m telling myself this week.
Yes. I am pulling my martyr card. She has a dad, but even there, she leaves some in the reserves.
Is this just a girl with their mom's thing? Maybe.
You see, I practice free-range parenting, or as close to that as any self-respecting black woman can.
My daughter will give her opinion and give it first. She knows her opinion is worth just as much as any adult in the room, and she is vocal about her wants and needs.
Which goes against all the cultural norms of black parenting.
Because honey, listen. My parents would have beat my ass if I even had a thought to be myself in the way that I encourage my daughter to be herself.
But that’s why I’m doing it.
I hated that shit. That shit broke something in me that thousands of therapy dollars and self-healing had to repair.
The idea that I was a person who mattered.
The idea that in a room with others, my worthiness was just there.
And tho some days we walk a fragile line on being a Ginny and Georgia mother-daughter duo, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m proud, but dammit… Parenting is no joke; the more I heal my inner child, the easier allowing my daughter to be herself, not to take her behaviors personally, or to call it “disrespect,” to let her have those moments that are actually developmental milestones in her becoming the woman she will be in the world.
I know she loves me, and I love her, so for her, I lay my pride aside to practice her sass, own her fierce, and learn to play with fire… I will be her safe space.